Da Gama

icon Hargreaves Avenue, Zwelitsha, King Willams Town, South Africa, 5608 email

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Who We Are

Da Gama Textiles is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest vertically integrated textile producers. We produce niche branded fabrics, including the internationally-recognised Three Cats Original Shweshwe, as well as a wide range of home, furnishing, traditional, workwear, medical fabrics and Technical textiles.

Da Gama Textiles was established in 1946 as Good Hope Textile Corporation (Pty) Ltd as a spinner, weaver, dyer, printer and finisher of cotton-based textiles. From the company’s inception, our fabrics have been in high demand due to their unique design and consistent quality.

Being a naturally durable, breathable and wickable fibre, cotton fabrics are versatile in their applications. With our diverse in-house printing capabilities, we produce ranges full of stunning colours, patterns and colourways, bringing a touch of style to any textile project or collection.

Da Gama Textiles employs most of its 500+ staff from the surrounding Zwelitsha settlement, providing one of the largest sources of employment in this area of the Eastern Cape. Our vertical manufacturing capabilities allow us to process up to 15 million machine metres each month, positioning us as the largest textile mill in South Africa.

Our strategic vision is to incorporate more technical fibres and finishing options into our value offering for both our current, and future markets.

As a South African institution, we are a core component of many local value chains, large and small. We supply fabrics for large-scale contracts and tenders utilising locally-sourced raw materials, while offering many rural families with a means to manufacture goods to be sold in the community on a micro-economic scale.

Da Gama’s history of ownership took a positive turn in 2014 when the company was purchased by Neil Cowie of the successful, family-owned Cowie Trading businesses. This was a perfect opportunity for both companies to capitalise on their existing supplier/customer relationship. Da Gama Textiles has been manufacturing fabrics of quality for Cowie Trading for decades and the infusion of new ownership has resulted in an explosion of creative design work, not only for our shweshwe range, but for the rest of the home and furnishing ranges.

In order to streamline Da Gama Textile’s business operations, the sales force now falls under Cowie Trading. This gives customers access to a more varied product range, as well as the diverse combined knowledge and experience of our sales team and representatives.

Da Gama textiles

Our story

Founded in 1946, Da Gama Textiles has more than 74 years’ experience in the weaving, dyeing, printing, and finishing of cotton fabrics

During 1992, we purchased the sole rights to own and print the Three Cats range of designs. To ensure that we upheld the long tradition of shweshwe manufacturing methods, we had all the original copper rollers, design library and machinery shipped to Da Gama Textiles in Zwelitsha.

Today, we still produce original shweshwe at our Zwelitsha factory, using traditional methods to achieve the distinctive designs and quality.

Over the years, we have expanded our offering to service a wide range of home, furnishing, traditional, workwear and medical applications.

Da Gama textiles
Da Gama History
Da Gama textiles
Da Gama history
Da Gama textiles

Our Capabilities

At our vertical mill in Zwelitsha, the journey of creating high-quality fabric begins with the yarn. We source the bulk of our yarn from local suppliers, ensuring sustainability throughout our value chain.

The woven fabric journey


Our unique capabilities mean that we boast bulk capacity for large production volumes throughout the plant.
We are dedicated to working with our customers to develop tailored solutions for their orders. Depending on requirements and end-use application, we can offer the following:

  • Finished fabrics of widths from 90cm to 200cm
  • Cotton or polyester/cotton blends
  • Matt, plain, twill, ripstop or fancy weave designs
  • Vat or reactive dyeing processes
  • Pre-shrunk, raised or calendered mechanical finishes
  • Chemical finishing options from water repellence and antimicrobial treatments to insect repellence and more
  • Various printing designs and colours
  • Various packaging, branding and identification options

Our Facilities

Our vertical mill is based in Zwelitsha, and all our production and finishing is done at this well-established mill in the Eastern Cape.

Production capacity

Dry Process
30 000lm/day
Wet Process
338 000lm/day
Final Inspection
80 000lm/day


Warping – Beam assembly & sectional warping


Looms – Rapier and Airjet

Bleaching – Singeing, desizing, bleaching, mercerising

Dyeing – CPB, Indigo range, Pad thermosol, Pad steam, Wash range

Printing – Rotary screen & strikeoff, Steamers, Baker, Flashager, Engraving

Finishing – Stenters, Sanforising, Raising

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can provide the right fabric solution for your needs